Scholars to present findings

Natalie Moctezuma, an Eastern New Mexico University graduate student majoring in communicative disorders, has been working since the summer on her research comparing the immediate hydrating effects of water versus flavored water.

"Flavored water is so popular nowadays, and voice experts are saying drink eight glasses of water a day, and if you don't like water, just flavor it, but we don't know if there's a problem in doing that," Moctezuma said.

She'll be presenting her findings at the 39th annual Eastern New Mexico University Student Research Conference.

The conference will take place Wednesday in ENMU's Campus Union Ballroom, where 130 student researchers will be presenting their research through poster artwork.

Other students will be doing 15-minute presentations on their topics in various buildings throughout the university.

"Some of these are very good papers," said ENMU professor David Hemley, the co-director of the conference. "And some aren't too. That's OK. The idea is to do the paper and get up in front of an audience and make a presentation. It's good training."

Wendy Turner: Courtesy photo

Spectators gather around student research posters at last year's Student Research Conference at Eastern New Mexico University.

Suzanne Swift, department chair for health and human services and Hemley's co-director, says the conference is more about the experience for students.

"I want them to understand that there are all kinds of ways of doing it and that it's not as bad as you think," Swift said. "The people who judge these competitions are very student friendly."

Sabrina Michael, a graduating senior majoring in biology, hopes that taking part in the research conference will give her a leg up in graduate school.

"I'm going to do a master's thesis in grad school so I'm hoping that I'll get something out of this," Michael said.

Michael is studying the sexual plasticity and sex allocation of a species of green algae, which she hypothesizes change from male to female when the circumstances become favorable.

According to Michael, algae are a primary source in food webs but they can turn into harmful algal bloom after sucking up nutrients from a water runoff. She says understanding the reproduction of algae can help protect against algal bloom.

Victoria Stamadianos is a graduate student studying speech language pathology and researched the current attitudes of teachers and how they perceive students who stutter.

Using an online survey, Stamadianos measured the reactions of 60 teachers, who teach kindergarten through 12th grade, to an audio-clip of an 11-year-old male who had a mild stutter.

They then answered questions belonging to four categories: The student's academic skills, interpersonal skills, social and leadership skills and whether or not they perceived the student as having a disability.

"I'm hoping to gain information that will allow SLPs (speech language pathologists) to advocate services for stutterers," said Stamadianos.

Swift said the experience of the conference will help sharpen students' research skills.

"You can't expect to get into grad school and get right on it your first year and get right out of it your second year and have it be perfect," Swift said. "It takes practice to be good a researcher."

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